Building an HTPC

Peter3hg

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My PVR is starting to become a pain in the arse, and I have most of the components of a PC lying redundant. Therefore I am seriously considering building an HTPC.
Parts I already have are:
C2D E4300
2GB Ram (probably only use 1GB of it)

Bits I will buy are:
Antec Micro Fusion Veris Case (comes with silent 350W PSU)
Gigabyte GA-73PVM-S2H Motherboard
320GB HDD
Hauppauge Nova 500TD dual tuner

The cost all together, will be about the same as a new PVR.
Does anybody have any opinions on the bits I have chosen, especially the case?
The other thing I am undecided upon is whether to run it on WIndows 7 using the Media Centre, or put a dedicated PVR style system on, such as MythTV running on a Linux distro. Does anybody have experience with MythTV?
 

Buba

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Bigger HDD will only be very little extra cost, but worth it in the future...
The Board can't accelerate h.264 if my google-fu is right? That maybe an area where you could do better...

//edit: http://www.xfxforce.com/en-gb/products/motherboards/NVIDIA GeForceseries/NVIDIA GeForce® 9300.aspx
This goes for 20 or 30 euros more than the Gigabyte you posted but has a GF 9300 and should be CUDA compatible, therefore being awesome for a HTPC and even 1080p would be fine. AFAIK 9400 would be even better, but I could only find 1 Board for uATX...

As software goes, I can vouch for DVBviewer, which is awesome, but a buddy of mine says he doesn't need dvbviewer anymore since the win7 MC is good enough. He usually knows what hes talking about, so I'll trust him.
 
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PacketCollision

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MythTV can be a bit of a pain in the ass to set up, but it's very nice when it works.
 

leviathan

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I've recently set up an AsRock ION 330 nettop as an HTPC in the living room of my parents' house, and they seem to be delighted :) It's running Win 7 RC (couldn't be bothered to upgrade to RTM yet), with Media Center as primary interface. I've attached a USB DVB-T tuner for TV reception, as well as a few IPTV providers they watch using DVBLink for IPTV.

The overclocked dual-core Atom, together with the ION platform and 2 GB RAM, work flawlessly, SD and 720p HD video can be watched without any problems. 1080p could be an issue, but since the TV is an older HD-Ready one without full HD, I didn't yet try.
 

Peter3hg

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Bigger HDD will only be very little extra cost, but worth it in the future...
The Board can't accelerate h.264 if my google-fu is right? That maybe an area where you could do better...

//edit: http://www.xfxforce.com/en-gb/products/motherboards/NVIDIA GeForceseries/NVIDIA GeForce® 9300.aspx
This goes for 20 or 30 euros more than the Gigabyte you posted but has a GF 9300 and should be CUDA compatible, therefore being awesome for a HTPC and even 1080p would be fine. AFAIK 9400 would be even better, but I could only find 1 Board for uATX...

As software goes, I can vouch for DVBviewer, which is awesome, but a buddy of mine says he doesn't need dvbviewer anymore since the win7 MC is good enough. He usually knows what hes talking about, so I'll trust him.

I can't find the XFX for a decent price, but I assume this MSI is very similar?
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/151370
 

Buba

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^ Looks like it! There aren't that many around...
 

jmb

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If you go the Windows route, you might also want to consider Mediaportal. It can be a bit fiddly at times, but the forum is great and there are loads of skins to pick from to get it looking how you want, along with plugins for all sorts of stuff. Moving Pictures and the TV Series plugins arrange media nicely with auto downloaded fanart and so on.
 

Peter3hg

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I think I'm going to initially just start with Windows 7 and then go from there if I'm not 100% happy with the Media Centre performance.
I've ordered the case and motherboard, and I'll pick the HDD (decided to go for 500GB) and tuner card up tomorrow.
Is there a version of Windows 7 around that I can download, and then activate using my genuine key when it arrives? I have already pre ordered Windows 7.
 

AiR

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Yes, the RTM image is floating around the interwebs, you can then install it without a key and evaluate it for 30x4 days for a total of 120 days. Very legal and running a re-arm is as easy as running a windows command.
 

MadCow809

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Intel HTPC :

G45, G41, G35, G31 + HD4350, HD4650, 9400GT, 9500GT

AMD HTPC :

780G, 785G + onboard graphics (plenty fast for HTPC)

And don't be stingy on ram, 2gb is the minimum requirement for a non-laggy HTPC that can runs Win Vista/7 with smooth video playback + occasional light gaming. Especially if the onboard graphics will hash some of your system memory to use as video memory. Even with DDR3 sideport, it's only 128mb dedicated video memory, so 2gb of physical ram is always a good idea.


Hope my list makes sense, I only gave the mobo's model number, you need to decide on which brand to settle with. You will need to know your stuff to understand this list.
 
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